Tanzanian tennis youngsters started well at the ongoing International Tennis Federation and Confederation of African Tennis (ITF/CAT) East African Junior Championships that get underway at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club (DGC) yesterday.
Five local players – Semeni Patrick, Tumaini Martin, Georgina Kaindowa, Omari Tule and Emmanuel Malya – recorded wins in the first day of the seven nations tournament.
Patrick played against Zelu Wahdre from Ethiopia and won 6-3, 7-5, Martin outclassed fellow Tanzanian Ibrahim Sadiki 2-0, Kaindowa floored Kenyan Abigail Tate Herte 2-0, Tule beat Ahid Saleh of Kenya 2-0 while Malya also beat Tuiyshine Fedrice from Rwanda 2-0.
The one week championships are being sponsored by ITF/CAT with Simba Cement as the local sponsors and have attracted 62 junior players aged 12-15 years from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and the hosts Tanzania.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the deputy director of sports in the ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Juliana Yassoda, said the government is pleased with initiatives taken by Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) of improving the game from the grassroots level.
“My ministry is following with interest the development of tennis in the country. We do understand that TTA has for the past years a special focus on developing junior players through programs in schools and clubs, good coaching and regular junior competitions to ensure the sports is brought closer to the public,” she said .
She also thanked Simba Cement for their continued sponsorship of the game in the country and she urged other companies and organizations to emulate a good example set by the company.
On her remarks, Mtanga Noor, who is Tanga Cement communications manager, said her company is committed to the development of the game in the country.
“Tennis is a sport that has not gained popularity in the country due to little knowledge among the people. The main reason is because little efforts have been made to promote this sport in the country and the cement company is proudly that we have been sponsoring many tennis events since last year,” she said.